Pollack, a northern fish of the cod family, and genus merlangus (Cuv.). As in the cod, there are three dorsals and two anals, but these are triangular; there is no barbel under the chin; the head is more pointed, and the body more compressed and deeper; the gape large; the tongue fleshy and dark-colored, and the lower jaw the longer; minute teeth in both jaws, but only one row in the lower. The common pollack (M. purpureus, Storer) is from 1 to 3 ft. long; the head and body above are greenish brown, the sides lighter, and the abdomen white; some smaller specimens are darker above and reddish below; the ventrals white, anals marked with the same, and the other fins like the back. It is caught abundantly on the New England coast in spring and autumn; its flesh is rather soft, though delicate and nutritious, and is prepared in the manner of dun fish. The pollack of Europe (M. pollachius, Cuv.) is olive brown above the lateral line, on the sides dull silvery white mottled with yellow, and whitish below; dorsals and tail brown, the other fins edged with reddish orange.
It abounds in the northern seas, especially on rocky coasts, and is esteemed as food; it is voracious like the rest of the family, eating the fry of other fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and radiates; it is gregarious when in pursuit of food. The black pollack (if. car-donarius, Linn.), or the coal fish, is from 1 to 3 ft. long, black above, bluish white below the lateral line, and lighter on the abdomen; the lateral line silvery white. It is found from the coast of New York to Davis strait on the American side, and in the northern seas as high as Spitzbergen, in the Baltic, and about the Orkneys in Europe. It attains a weight of 30 lbs.; it swims rapidly, not very deeply, and is in the best condition from October to December, when it readily takes the hook.
Pollack (Merlangus purpureus).